Sebastian Vettel says the Ferrari Formula 1 team must always take priority over the interests of its drivers following its controversial Singapore Grand Prix strategy.

Vettel ended a victory drought stretching back to last year’s Belgian Grand Prix by heading Ferrari’s first one-two of 2019 in Singapore after leapfrogging teammate Charles Leclerc during the pit stop window.

The German started third on the grid but undercut both Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton to move into a lead he never relinquished, much to the annoyance of a furious Leclerc, who demanded an explanation from Ferrari over its strategy.

“I said on the radio after the race that the team is bigger than myself, bigger than any individual,” Vettel explained.

“I’m happy for the guys and we finished one-two, so for me the order is important, and for Charles the order is important, that is why we are here. We ultimately want to fight for victories.

“As I said, the team in this regard is bigger than us.”

Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto explained the Scuderia’s strategy call after the race and revealed his side did consider swapping its drivers around on-track after underestimating the power of the undercut.

Asked if there is an unwritten rule at Ferrari that the lead car should get first priority for an undercut strategy, Binotto replied: “Not really, we have always given the advantage to the car ahead, that’s normally the rules we are doing.

“But in that case, you would not stop Charles as first he was leading the race, he would have been in traffic, and that would have been the wrong move.

“The opposite, Verstappen was ready to stop, we knew that, and the best way to protect Sebastian’s position was to stop him, and make sure that for the following laps at least the pit stop crew was free for Charles’ pit stop.

“It was the right timing to stop Seb. Following that it was the right timing to stop Charles. I think it was a one-two or two-one.

“I think we were concentrating on making sure everything was right, and I think the team was first, there was the positions one-two, we could have swapped, I think it was not at that stage, we were fighting to gain the position for Vettel.”

 

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